Pomerene Center purchases PARK Space

| January 31, 2014

COSHOCTON – On Jan. 24, the Pomerene Center for the Arts became the proud owner of the PARK Space on Main Street.

“We are really happy,” said Anne Cornell, artistic director and community studio artist. “We feel like it is our job (to do something with the space) and a privilege to be able to work with the community and come up with something positive there.”

The PARK Space is located across from the courthouse where the former Park Hotel stood before burning down in July 2005.

“It was a large empty space that was detracting from downtown in a major way,” Cornell said.

The Pomerene Center brought life back to the space by holding events and displaying art there, but the five-year lease it had on the property was set to expire in April.

“Right now the arts are playing a large role in revitalization and economic development in urban areas,” Cornell said. “We hope we can be part of the larger solution for Coshocton.”

The Pomerene Center was able to purchase the lot with the help of donations from Scott Butler who graduated from Coshocton High School in 1972 and locals Robert and Carolyn Simpson.

“Our main goal is to create a space that we can full up with people,” Cornell said. “If you look at older pictures of downtown that’s the way it was.”

Over the past couple of years, she has learned a lot about what it will take to do that.

“Having a way to get from the front to the back of the lot is very important,” Cornell said. “People also have to really have a reason to step off the sidewalk and into the open space.”

Plans also are in the works to secure funding to fix the wall attached to the civic hall.

“That was an issue brought up by community leaders that we know needs fixed,” Cornell said. “We are hoping to have the funds for it by the end of June.”

A seven member team also is being assembled to work with an architect on designs for the space and how temporary works of art can be displayed there.

“Business follows people,” Cornell said. “Hopefully if we create a place of interest we can get people to step out on Main Street and business opportunities will develop.”

Those interested in becoming part of the committee to help develop the PARK Space are welcome to contact the Pomerene Center at 622-0326.

Also helping to make the space a place of interest will be funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant. The Pomerene Center was awarded $50,000 to bring people together to create two new temporary public works of art.

According to a press release, NEA Our Town grant money will be used in Coshocton to fund the advancement, documentation and evaluation of the Pomerene Center’s Community Studio model, Phase II of the Root Ball Park and a composite graphic artwork project filling empty downtown windows. 

The press release on the grant also states that the purpose of the Community Studio is to encourage the general public to create public art.

“We want to pull together people in the community who have talents and passion to help us work on creating art,” Cornell said. “It’s a team process.”

During the two-year grant period, Sept. 1, 2013 – Aug. 31, 2015, the Pomerene Center for the Arts will work together with Coshocton City to achieve optimal arts impact.

“This is not a total solution to the problems facing our community, but it’s a piece,” Cornell said. “Art is also what we do so we want to step up and do our part to be part of the larger solution.”

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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